Monday, February 19 , 2018, 12:18 am | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Missile-Launch Protesters Plead Not Guilty to Trespassing at Vandenberg AFB

15 activists were arrested in February after crossing the line between the designated protest area and the base itself

The 15 protesters arrested Feb. 25 while trespassing at Vandenberg Air Force Base all pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court.

Dozens of people protested the test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, and 15 of them crossed the line between the designated protest area and the base itself, for which they were arrested. The missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Among the defendants are activists from all over the country, including Daniel Ellsberg, known for releasing the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in action in Iraq, and David Krieger, president of Santa Barbara’s Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

“ICBM launches have become business as usual from Vandenberg and they shouldn’t be,” Krieger said outside the courthouse. “The tests are a continuation of the nuclear arms race and are provocative for other nations. We can’t set an example that it’s all right for us to do it and not for other countries.”

He said he and other defendants wanted to stop the missile launch through a show of civil resistance, claiming it violates the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“It’s a display of might but it doesn’t make us any safer,” Berkeley activist Cynthia Papermaster said.

The group protested the cost, too, since each test launch reportedly costs upward of $20 million.

Ellsberg didn’t attend Thursday’s court hearing, but his attorney came in his place.

The trial for all of the defendants is set for Oct. 16, and Krieger said most of them are defending themselves.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >